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Can atheists "know" something without what they call proof?

Updated on December 21, 2013

Did they capture the moon? Yes, in this photograph.

The photo captured a concept, most can understand that. Is the photo proof ? Yes. Of what is for the viewer to decide.
The photo captured a concept, most can understand that. Is the photo proof ? Yes. Of what is for the viewer to decide. | Source

Witness testimony and the law

There seems to be a disconnect somewhere for some reason that certain people cannot accept that another persons testimony is proof and evidence. For some odd reason that I am trying to find the answer to, some folks just insist that another person relating what they know is not evidence of what they know.

Yet for all human history we have relied on what others tell us. One need not have much of an imagination to visualize a "cave" man relating to another "cave" man where good water is or good food and so they both go there.

We can assume that schools of one sort or another have been around pretty much with the current model for ever in human history. Teacher and Student and the teacher teaches and the student learns from what the teacher says.

It is so old and so accepted that people's statements are evidence that only a crack pot, lab coat wearing test tube freak could deny it.

A smart man has to be completely aghast at these atheist that claim, extol and declare that a mans testimony is not evidence. They are living in la la land. I hope they never get accused of murder and need an eye witness alibi.

What a man testifies to is proof and evidence as to what he testifies to. Plain and simple.

Normal people rely upon what other normal people tell them. Some how there is a switch in the brain of an atheist that never gets switched on because they just cannot accept this plain and simple fact that one man and 3 men testifying create a truth. Something is abnormal about this.

What do you believe?

Do you know what is acceptable evidence?

See results

What evidence?

Atheists do not accept eye witness testimony because they cannot sense it.

'a man said he saw God and felt him in his heart. Then four men said the same thing. And then one hundred saw and felt the same thing, , , , We understand their testimony.'

Yet to an atheist that is not evidence because it is evidence that they cannot sense themselves.

A policeman wrote down what he saw and got four signatures, to attest they saw the same thing. To an atheist this is not valid evidence.

A child cries and claims that her father hit her, but there is no evidence of the strike. An atheist declares no crime.

A woman claims she was raped but there is no physical evidence. So she is lying.

A man claims to be in love, yet the atheist demands proof.

Now if we meet an atheist that can accept testimony as proof and they just do not believe then we can understand him well. But when they just cannot accept testimony as proof then they are not capable of normal discussion.

12 jurors go into deliberations. Half believe the testimony of eye witnesses and 6 do not. That is OK. But if 2 of them just say "I cannot accept it as proof because it is just testimony", then under the common law of the west they are violating the instructions that the court has given them. That is just fact.

And there is something wrong with that person who cannot follow the instruction from thousands of years of jurisprudence.

Very inclusive work worthy of reading

Nothing is true unless proved to the satisfaction of people who have never studied rules of evidence?

How funny I have never met an atheist who could quote me laws regarding evidence --- I look forward to it.
How funny I have never met an atheist who could quote me laws regarding evidence --- I look forward to it. | Source

Now this is sounding harsh.

Yes it is. Some will come and criticize me because I am critical of a mindset. That is fine. Others will criticize that my words are not loving and an example of what I preach which is that God is Love.

Well that is fine. I can take that heat. But because I profess love does not make me a door mat. And love does not only equate to nice. Many many Christians are attacked and called lazy intellectuals because they believe without physical proof. They are entitled to be assured that they do not need it.

The Bible is proof. Yes one must know that it is proof. Credibility is another issue. Matters like it's age and authorship are valid issues some cut against the credibility and others support it. For instance "ancient texts" get both support because they are ancient and yet they are harder to verify because of age. But for someone to forcefully assert that it is not evidence is just fallacious. Others cry that it is hearsay. Well if they understood what hearsay is they would know that there are no less than ten exceptions to what we call hearsay. For instance not being offered for the truth of the matter asserted but simply to show someone wrote it down. Dying declarations and historical record keeping also have impact on credibility.

For instance the story of Bethlehem and the Virgin Mary can be viewed for the sole purpose of showing what some people of that day believed to be true. That is very valid evidence.

Soon I will not "write" here but only make money here.

HP is a tool of money. We must accept that real hard core writing will not do well here.
HP is a tool of money. We must accept that real hard core writing will not do well here. | Source

The Natural order of things.

We are not looking at a publication here that wants to win a Pulitzer Prize. They would never risk that notion of safety in numbers and white bread journalism. That is a good idea. We must accept that to be serious writers we must have our own publication.

Some hub like this one laying bare the facts and really addressing a contentious issue is not the bally-wick here. And this is good. I have a foundation that can make money here and produce income. But I will not get recognized here because we are driven to conformity and sale ability.

That is a very good thing. Each writer needs a refuge and strict control in order to better their craft.

Back to the person who cannot believe.

It is not by accident that we use the word for truth of a persons testimony as "I believe that witness". It just is how we look at life. Someone who cannot believe what his mother or teacher teaches him is at a significant disadvantage in this world. We should set forth in our minds to help them, love them and embrace them.

My favorite dude in the new testament is a guy named Thomas. They call him doubting Thomas and I want that guy in my life. It is good.

To all you folk who doubt until you touch. I love you and I thank you much for keeping us hard at working testing our beliefs.


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    • Righteous Atheist profile image

      Righteous Atheist 

      4 years ago

      Eric - I told the truth.What Slarty told you hase been told you many times. You "hear" but do not listen.

      But - I see why you would not want the truth told here.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I read your comment 4 times and found it only insulting and adding nothing but an attack on person. So for the first time ever I deleted -- in the spirit of Christmas ;-)

    • Righteous Atheist profile image

      Righteous Atheist 

      4 years ago

      Probably shouldn't delete my comments then huh? LOL

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      But you have so much to offer. I want you here and hear. We must help each other come to understanding of each other.

      It really does help others with their understanding while we work over hard issues.

      I need you.


    • Righteous Atheist profile image

      Righteous Atheist 

      4 years ago

      Yup _ I know when I am not welcome . LOL

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Yep and can you go elsewhere.

      If you want to converse at least approach the subject and not me.

    • Righteous Atheist profile image

      Righteous Atheist 

      4 years ago

      LAWL - I made no such personal attack. But still - delete any comments you find uncomfortable. I know you are a fan of censorship now despite your lies.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Stay with discussion and not personal attacks. I do not know you because you do not let me.

    • Righteous Atheist profile image

      Righteous Atheist 

      4 years ago

      lol Too funny sweetie. Too funny,

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Slarty my new friend your words are considerable and need reflection. I hope to get back here soon as I delve into this wealth of intellect. Please know that your words are heard.

      May the wind blow at your back and the clover be in season for you my friend.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 

      4 years ago from Ottawa

      I’m afraid I have never met a fundamentalist, in particular, who says there is no absolute truth. Usually Christians argue the opposite. Be that as it may there is absolute truth. Something is or is not true. There is or there is not a god. You can’t be sort of pregnant. You are or you are not. Same goes for most subjects and claims: they are either true or not.

      Now there are ideas which can be true in one way and untrue in another, but something cannot be true and false at the same time in the same way.

      Our collective problem is that we cannot always know what is true and what is not. So we have to use various methods of getting a sense of what is true and what isn’t. We do this by gathering evidence and processing that evidence through experiment and logic. We can then come to pretty good guesses about the probability of something being true or not based on the available evidence.

      Logic is our most valuable tool in getting at the truth of something.

      Math is full of absolutes and I can give you a non math formula for what truth is. The truth about anything depends on the conditions which create that truth staying the same. If the conditions are altered the truth about that subject may also change. But as long as the conditions do not change the truth about the subject remains absolute.

      If I turn on my tap tomorrow I will get water out of it as I did today with absolute certainty as long as the conditions of my water system do not change. That in and of itself is a statement of absolute truth.

      So truth is relative to the conditions that create it, and as long as they stay the same you will always get the same results. Absolute truth is relative to its conditions.

      Truth then is relative. But it is relative to something. Not perception. It is relative to the conditions that create it.

      All truth is absolute, but conditions are often dynamic, so the truth about something can change. You can say a light is on, until it is off.

      Christians seem to advocate the old way of thinking. Everything must be belief of some sort. But that is no longer the case. It may be the traditional way people thought and think as a rule, but there is a better way. That is to not believe anything, and accept facts when faced with them.

      That does not prevent opinion based on facts. It just prevents bias produced by being invested in what the truth may be. Belief is an investment like buying a stock in new product or company. You want the company to do well. In the same way you want the truth to conform to your beliefs.

      I do not care what the truth of anything turns out to be. I just want to know what it is. Therefore there is no reason to invest faith in my opinion of what I would like it to be. Perception on its own has no effect on realty. My opinion is not magic, nor is it important.

      For the religious faith is all there is. Faith must come without proof because if you know something with certainty then faith is redundant and useless. All faiths advocate not looking for proof but rather looking for more faith. If you knew there was a god with certainty then you would not need faith.

      What bothers you is that people use the word evidence in a non legal way without qualifying their statement. What bothers me is a person telling me they know with certainty that a god exists. It is as much as a lie. They cannot know that. They may believe it, but cannot know it with absolute certainty.

      Ironically faith makes you believe that you are certain, without the ability to be certain.

      It is my opinion that humans are evolving more toward a logical mind and away from the mind of belief and faith. It’s a long process but I think it will be worth it for mankind.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Slarty (in my opinion) you start with an erroneous premise: "if true" is not the test for human affairs. It works in a lab but not with matters of people. The proper term is "if believed to be true". Matters of man are not given to absolutes. I think most Christians would tell you that they cannot even grasp absolutes.

      However you are right not all evidence is proof.

      Someone speaking is empirical -- sight, sound and even vibration feel. Testimony is empirical. A book is empirical evidence.

      Slarty any good scientist will conclude matters thought to be true are only believed to be true.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 

      4 years ago from Ottawa

      Evidence is a piece or body of information which if true may lend credence to a speculative conclusion. Evidence is not always proof of the validity of the speculative conclusion.

      So if the only objection is that atheists should not say there is no evidence of god because in a court of law testimony is considered evidence in the broadest sense of the word then one might have a point. But atheists tend to say evidence when they mean empirical evidence, which has a much higher standard.

      The point is that people want truth and fact, not belief or speculation when it comes to whether there is a god or not. There is no empirical evidence of a god, and that’s a fact. The entire point of religion is belief without proof. That an atheist cannot invest, so it seems.

      Atheism is not a belief in a lack of god, it is lack of belief that there is a god. I do not know that there is no god, and I certainly do not know that there is. Knowing being certainty of fact. But because of lack of empirical evidence I have a lack of belief that there is a conscious entity we can name god.

      There is no need for belief. There is or there is not a god. Were it a fact belief would be redundant, since it is mere speculation belief is folly.

    • Righteous Atheist profile image

      Righteous Atheist 

      4 years ago

      Thanks for proving my point again Eric. Your critical thinking skills have been atrophied by your irrational beliefs.

      The sorcerers stone is evidence of Harry Potter.

      Odd that you do not understand why this approach of yours causes so much conflict. Basically you are calling anyone who does not believe the garbage you choose to believe a liar.

      But - I have to ask - why does it make you so angry that some of us choose the think instead of believing garbage with no evidence?

      I offer testimony that god does not exist. Guess that proves there is no god huh? ;) What with that being evidence and proof and what not.

      Have a Happy Saturnalia.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      "not as irrefutablbe evidence"

      "or fact"

      Let us look at those --- of course they are refutable but the antagonist must refute not just ignore or deny the evidence exists.

      It is fact if it is evidence to which there is no greater evidence contradicting it. And yet does not mean it must be believed but it is evidence. Do not believe but do not say there is not evidence.

      The Bible is evidence of God.

      California Western School of Law. Northern Arizona University for philosophy with emphasis in pre-law and logic. Dual minors in psychology and business. AA degrees in Risk Management and Security and license and AA equivalent in insurance. LEMII Episcopal Church and Canonical representative for Church of Christ. (you asked)

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 

      4 years ago from Ottawa

      No my first paragraph is fact, not just my opinion. Testimony is taken in evidence, not as irrefutable evidence or fact as you seem to be claiming. Not sure where you went to law school.

      As to not trusting people, that depends on the rationality of their claims.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Jodah, I love it. Going on my wall Thank you much!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill, like some folks love photography and others love cooking and still others love chickens, I spend my day in the gardens of the mind.

      Thanks for being a great guiding light.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Slanty thank you for such an interesting comment. It is stated as fact but is clearly opinion. None of the rules laid out in your first paragraph are anything but your opinion. And they are great evidence of what you think. Yes great evidence. "testimony must be corroborated to be considered valid" is just an incorrect statement. Valid is a term of credibility. Ability to perceive and relate are your two tests. Opinions are valid testimonies except when they are not.

      But your position is clear -- you cannot "trust" people. And that is a valid position if it is yours.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      You always pose those co

      versial questions don't you Eric. This would sure stir a hornets nest in forums. Anyway, good for you. This is my favorite poem at the moment addressing this issue:

      'The Fool Hath Said'

      "There is no God", the speaker cries,

      "Don't let your thoughts be chained:

      This universe evolved itself,

      The world is self-contained."

      Just then an urchin in the crowd

      A skillful pebble throws

      Which accurately lands upon

      The atheistic nose.

      "Who threw that stone?' the speaker roars;

      At which the cockney elf,

      Intuitively keen, retorts,

      "No one! It frew itself."

      So a pathetic casualty,

      Discomforted and worse,

      Goes home to meditate upon

      This causeless Universe.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, this is one of those subjects I don't touch with a ten foot pole. People will believe what they believe; I have my hands full just taking care of myself. :) Believe me, it is a full-time job for this boy.

      Interesting thoughts my friend. Never let it be said that you shied away from controversy.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 

      4 years ago from Ottawa

      “Testimony is valid evidence.”

      Testimony is evidence because it is given as a claim about an event or what have you. In a court it is taken as evidence but there is no assumption that the evidence given is factual. Testimony must be corroborated to be considered valid. People have a habit of testifying their opinions based on their interpretation of the facts rather than on the facts themselves.

      Testimony can only be added to a body of evidence in order to make a whole and somewhat accurate assessment. A persons interpretation of events, even personal experience is always up for scrutiny, The human mind is far too bias and subjective to take as gospel its interpretations alone on any subject. And this particularly applies to religious experience which can be effectively garnered through drugs and stimulation of the brain with drugs, self hypnosis through meditation and EM stimulation of the brain.

      Testimony often amounts to good imagination.


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